Bookkeeping Tips for the Everyday Entrepreneur

From the CEO: How to Get A Small Business Loan When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders often ask me for advice on navigating the various sources of traditional and online business lending out there (as a CFO, it's part of what we do).  You may be trying to understand this complex landscape and wondering where to begin or even if you’re ready to start talking to lenders. Here are five things I’ve learned through over a decade of working with startups and small businesses:  1. Plan ahead Do not wait to apply for cash until you desperately need access to commercial funds. An entrepreneur with no money in the bank is more likely to take a loan at a terrible rate because they did not plan ahead for their cash needs. And having access to enough capital can be a tricky business in the early days: healthy, fast-growing companies will often need to front payroll or marketing dollars while waiting for customers to pay. The lending process at a traditional bank could involve several weeks of applications, reviews, and underwriting, so start before you need the cash. If you can show growth plans and know you’ll benefit from access to funds in the future, now is the time.  2. Get help Partner with a CFO or local accounting professional to help vet your local banks. They’ve worked with many of the lenders and can help you develop a strong package to bring to the bank and make sure you’re finding the best fit for your company. 3. Go local Make your first stop your current business bank commercial lender. Or shop around at local banks, who are often hungry to lend and have the best rates on the market. I was able help a recent client get an unsecured $50K Line of Credit at 5% at their local bank by showing healthy financials and a solid growth plan. 4. Keep going  If you aren’t able to get a traditional loan through your local bank, don’t despair. Hit up the SBA. This federal agency has the next cheapest type of funding, and your local bank may even introduce them as an option if the bank cannot offer an unsecured line of credit. As a CFO, I help entrepreneurs apply for SBA loans using smartbizloans.com. 5. Try online If neither a traditional nor an SBA loan works for you, check out the loan matchmaking site Fundera. I recommend them the most because they work to get you the best offer or rate from the current online lenders as well as banks across the country. Their loan specialists are very helpful and do a great job following up with you during and after the process. A number of my clients have had success closing several types of loans via Fundera at decent rates.  Navigating the lending process can be intimidating, but don’t let that keep you from locating the cash your business needs. Work with a CFO or accounting professional who can assist you with gathering the required documents and creating a solid plan for how to use the funds wisely. When in doubt, get advice and do not fall prey to easy money or predatory business lenders. Plan ahead, and you'll be on your way to a small business loan at affordable rates for your business.
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How to Use the Partial Purchase Orders Feature In Quickbooks Online

The Partial Purchase Orders feature of  Quickbooks Online  allows users to create purchase orders for both the "Accounts" and "Items" tabs to keep their finances and inventory reconciled. With the "Items" tab used for inventory and the "Accounts" tab used for expenses that add directly to Profit and Loss, businesses can receive partial shipments while keeping the order open until back-ordered items are filled. This capacity saves you time and a lot of headaches trying to keep track of what you have and haven’t received from a variety of vendors. After creating a Vendor Bill, Check, or Expense form, you can add a bill to them, like usual. However, with the Partial Order feature, you can either choose to make it a complete order or a partial order. If you are dealing with a back order, it will show a back-ordered quantity and open balance for inventory items. From the Partial Purchase Order page, you can also reconcile your inventory and make sure that all items have been delivered. Once they have been received, you can finally close this purchase order. This feature may seem confusing at first, especially if you are not used to working with back ordering from vendors, but before it existed, partial purchase orders could not be recorded in Quickbooks. The ability to keep an inventory order partially filled and open is just one of the many little features that makes Quickbooks Online so helpful for business owners. If you need some more help using Quickbooks or any other accounting software,  contact us  today.
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Is Kabbage the Right Small Business Financing Option For You?

There are hundreds of small business financing websites online that are ready to give you a business loan. However, just because they will give you a loan doesn’t mean you should take one from them. It is important to stick with reputable organizations--and ones that will give you fair terms on your loan. Among those hundreds of different online financing websites is Kabbage, but with so many different competitors, how do they stack up? Kabbage has been around for a decent amount of time, giving a number of sources the opportunity to check it out. They are now one of the better-known small business lending sites. Endorsed by big names like MSNBC, Forbes, and Time--and boasting over 100,000 satisfied customers--you can rest assured that they offer aboveboard loans. Kabbage does things a little differently. Instead of offering traditional loans, they only offers loans as a line of credit. So if you need a long-term loan option, Kabbage is not right for you. However, because they only offer 6-month terms, you can get your fees out of the way quickly and avoid the possibility of  digging yourself into a real hole. To get approved, your business must be at least a year old and have either $50,000 in annual revenue or have made over $4,200 over the last three months. If you meet the criteria, t hey are quick to approve and often offer the quickest access to funds in the business. Want to learn more about how to thrive as a small business? One of the real keys is to have an effective bookkeeping system. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your small business grow and thrive.
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Why More Business Owners Are Choosing Cloud Accounting Software

When you own a small business, it is important to stay one step ahead of your competition. While you may not be able to beat out the big corporate competitors, you can thrive locally by having an edge. For many small businesses, cloud accounting software can be that edge. Storing your data securely in the cloud makes it easily accessible by different users and in different locations without everyone having to be in the office to access the system. Because data is so available and easy to use, employees and contractors can work easily from any location, allowing for more collaborative teamwork that can help your business thrive. As cloud accounting software comes with so many features--many that go above and beyond simple accounting--you can trust in the software to help your small business in new and unexpected ways, such as: Increasingly efficient personnel workflow Increased visibility to your business through real-time data Ease of tracking business goals Ability to have personnel in different locations collaborate on projects seamlessly Reduced time and accounting cost Ability to adapt quicker to business changes While the benefits listed above are all major selling points of making the investment in cloud accounting technology, there are still many small business owners out there that fear the security of the cloud. However, with so much stored in it today, great security measures have been taken to protect your data for no extra cost. And the cloud has its own security advantages: if your physical copies are stolen or destroyed, you still have complete and full access to your documents online. By investing in cloud accounting software, you are putting in place an effective bookkeeping system and a great disaster recovery system. If you are sold on the possibility of more bookkeeping freedom so that you can get back to what really matters, like actually running your business, contact us today.
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Why You Should Be Using Bill.com for Your PayPal Transactions

PayPal rose to popularity because of the convenience it offers customers, both business owners and their customers or vendors, when it came to monetary transactions. Unfortunately, PayPal for business owners can cost a vendor 3% of transactions processed through PayPal. So $300 of your $10,000 invoice is taken by PayPal. However, those who take advantage of the seamless integration of PayPal with  Bill.com  can end up saving thousands of dollars in transactions through one amazing loophole. While many people praise Bill.com for the way it processes bills quickly and easily, you can also use it to handle those same bills through PayPal by connecting your account to the Bill.com system. Customers often prefer to pay this way because of the ease of use. There's a bonus for your business too: because the money is transferred via ACH, the payment won’t cost PayPal’s 3% fee. Instead, you'll only be charged Bill.com's vastly superior $0.99 per transaction. This clever little exception is the reason businesses who process payments primarily through PayPal should be taking great advantage of Bill.com right now to avoid wasting thousands. Think of Bill.com as not only a great tool for business but also an investment to help your business thrive. That money you save on transactions can go to any number of different things to help your business continue to grow. If you want more information on Bill.com and how it can help your business thrive--even if you don’t use PayPal for transactions,  contact us  today.
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